U.S. livestock: Hogs rise to four-month high on supply woes

February live cattle down, April up

CME April 2021 lean hogs with 20-, 50- and 100-day moving averages. (Barchart)

Chicago | Reuters — U.S. hog futures rose for the seventh time in eight sessions on Thursday, hitting a four-month high on concerns about tight supplies, traders said.

“There are a lot of empty barns out here,” Don Roose, president of U.S. Commodities in West Des Moines, Iowa said.

Live cattle futures were mixed, with nearby contracts easing on pressure from weakness in the cash markets while deferred offerings were firm on bargain buying.

Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) February hogs rose 0.475 cent to close at 74.025 cents/lb. in thin trading (all figures US$). The most-active April hogs contract settled 2.425 cents higher at 84.25 cents/lb.

On a continuous basis, the front-month contract peaked at 73.95 cents, its highest level since mid-October, with new contract highs noted in the February, April and May contracts.

The cash pork carcass cutout value rose $2.01, to $88.87/cwt, up $1.50 from the prior day, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) data showed.

The average pork packer margin dropped 65 cents to $30.45 per head, according to livestock marketing advisory service HedgersEdge.com.

Spot CME February live cattle dropped 0.8 cent to 115.325 cents/lb., while actively traded April futures rose 0.425 cent to 123.125 cents/lb.

March feeder cattle dipped 0.35 cent to close at 139.15 cents/lb.

Export sales of beef totaled 17,500 tonnes in the week ended Feb. 4, according to USDA data released on Thursday morning. Weekly pork export sales were 36,900 tonnes.

— Mark Weinraub is a Reuters commodities correspondent in Chicago.

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